Everton vs Juventus: Martinez looking for stiff test against Serie A Champions
Everton face Serie A champions Juventus on Wednesday evening as the Premier League side continue their pre-season preparations.
The Liverpool club come off the back of a 3-1 win away to Championship side Blackburn Rovers, thanks to a deflected strike from Kevin Mirallas and a brace from Nikica Jelavic.
19-year-old midfielder Ross Barkley was impressive in the win and boss Roberto Martinez was impressed, saying: “He is something special. In football when you describe a player, there are not many better descriptions than to say he’s an incredible football diamond.
“He’s still a young man, and he needs to learn the players around him. But I’m excited to have that process with him. He has got an incredible talent. You look at young players like Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley – they are at that level.
“I am really pleased with his attitude, the way he listens and wants to learn. And when he is in full flow, he can be something special.
“Ross is such a talented boy, and has an incredible appreciation of space, that he can play in many positions. Of course you want him as high up the pitch as you can because he can be lethal with his finishing ability.
“But it is about finding the right partnerships around him. At the moment he is a young man who is still learning when to use his talent and when he needs to do things for the team. The early signs have been really good and encouraging.”
On the performance of front man Jelavic, Martinez was also complimentary, saying: “A goalscorer is a goalscorer. In modern football, it is a bit unfair to rely on a player to score you 20-25 goals in a season. If you don’t do things well as a team, then you are not going to get the striker in good positions.
“That is what we are trying to develop now. A team that can be strong enough off the ball, a team that can create chances for our strikers to take.
“What we saw today was that Jelavic has come back with a really strong intention to have a good season.
“It is very important in any squad, to have competition. And with Niki, Arouna Kone, Victor Anichebe, Tolos Vellios, the competition for places is fantastic.
“I think what we saw against Blackburn was Jelavic telling us that he is prepared to work hard and help the team. That is what I want to see throughout the squad.
“I was really pleased with the manner he has come back, with the shape he has come back in, and the focus he has shown in his work.
“I am really excited to see in the next three weeks how these strikers go in their claims to start the first league game.”
Everton also lost to Austria Vienna in Austria earlier in the month and defeated Accrington comfortably in a 4-1 away victory as they prepare for a new era and a new season under Martinez.